I never know where I’ll end up in my meandering on the web. At times (most times in fact) its a journey down a labyrinthine path to no where, the proverbial Alice through the looking glass, only to end up behind the mirror.
But today, in only a short time, I stumbled across two sites that seemed to be the flip side of the same coin, the yin to the yang, the mercury and salt to the philosophers stone.
You get the picture, opposites to the same idea.
Their paring may seem like strange bedfellows, but in the end, what they both represent are studies into the mechanics of the fraternity. Essentially two non-Masonic groups that at some level study Freemasonry, or its practice.
The first site in this paring was the relatively new journal site to the OVN, which is a Foundation for the advancement of academic research into the history of freemasonry in the Netherlands. This foundation is similar to the Center for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield.
The OVN journal is a clearing house for all things Masonic in an academic standing, from paper calls, to forum and symposia. This is a bit different from what most American Masons are accustomed to, as Freemasonry in Europe has percolated into academia as a path of study as it relates to civil society. As they say of our European neighbors, they do things a little “different” than what we here in the states are familiar with, which is this case is a good thing. So, if you have an interest in the academic approach to Freemasonry, or have been considering a Master or PhD program, perhaps this is an area of study that you would want to explore here in the U.S., and the OVN Journal woudl be a good place to start.
On the other side of that looking glass, I stumbled onto the blog Mysterious Societies which was an all things conspiracy, secret, occult, and, well, mysterious. It is not an academic approach, more like a gad-fly sensational version with images of the pope making devil horns, Nazi occult New World Order fear, lost tomb of Jesus Masonic connections, and invisibility with Masonic symbols. I think you get the point.
Now, you may be saying that this is far from a Masonic research site, but as with anything written and published, it enters into our consciousness and exists, whether we agree with it or not. So, by its existence, it becomes a parallel line of research. The point for consideration is that just as the OVN exists, so to does its obverse exist in the Mysterious Societies. And at times, both can lead you down interesting paths.
And, like Alice, once you start down these paths, you never know where you’ll end up.